|UUA Trustee Tidbits - Dec 2010|
UUA Trustee Tidbits
Joan Lund, December 2010
Happy holidays to each one of you! This month I offer a huge thanks to the majority of our Florida District congregations for scheduling and holding the annual Association Sunday. I had the privilege of visiting and speaking to two of our congregations celebrating this event. Proceeds from the special collections at Association Sunday services will be used to ensure that Unitarian Universalism thrives for generations to come through initiatives like Leap of Faith, a pilot project establishing mentoring relationships between selected congregations.
Leap of Faith, which is in the pilot program stage, grew from conversations between UUA President Rev. Peter Morales and ministers of congregations experiencing admirable growth in numbers. These conversations spawned the creation of the project and selection of 12"aspiring congregations" who desire support in taking big steps in growing Unitarian Universalism. In other words, this will be a learning community of mentoring relationships between congregations with demonstrated growth success and those who are "poised" to grow. These congregations are being paired with "mentoring congregations" who have had experience with particular issues and challenges that the "aspiring congregations" face. The aspiring congregations are ones that are already doing well, but need a "boost" and might experience new perspectives from being in relationship with other congregations. A professional consultant/monitor will help Leap of Faith in achieving effectiveness during the early stages, in hopes of expanding the program in the future. Evaluators will monitor the program and assist UUA staff determine its effectiveness. A final report will be presented to the 2011 General Assembly, followed by a decision about continuance of the program with other congregations.
Core aspects of Leap of Faith include: creating congregation-to-congregation learning communities to share knowledge that resides in UUA congregations (mutual mentoring and experiential learning); aspiring congregations determining the areas of learning and experience that will help them forward in sustained numerical growth; a gathering of "first wave" congregation teams for a launching conference that will allow aspiring congregations to develop their particular narratives and begin to build learning communities with their mentor congregations; and a commitment from aspiring congregations to share what they learn with other congregations through websites, social media, blogging, webinars, and workshops. Our UUA looks forward to sharing more information and ideas following the launch conference.